Economist says Tokyo will not benefit long-term from hosting 2020 Olympics


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Tokyo will not benefit long term from hosting the 2020 Olympics -- contrary to the hopes and prayers of a nation

Raise your hand if you're surprised.


22 ( +23 / -1 )

The Olympics is the ultimate insider trading scheme for politicians and construction companies.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

And just where was this guy when the bidding process was going on? Kind of like shutting the barn door after all the horses have run away.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Economist says Tokyo will not benefit long-term from hosting 2020 Olympics

Tokyo NOT but the LDP friends behind the inflated costs will !

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Abe wanted it so he could pay off his construction buddies and make sure there is a super golden parashoot for him.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

This is not just a Japan thing. I do not think any municipality which has hosted the Olympics has gained financial benefits. As domtoldi says above the Olympics (and not only in Japan) is a grand insider trading scheme...not limited to politicians and construction but also for the members of the IOC and other so called "global elite"

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Anyone else already sick of hearing about the Olympics. Japan is already up to the eyeballs in debt, and this debacle will only add to that.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Hopefully many visitors to Tokyo Olympics have a good experience with Japan and its people. That is all Japan can hope for. If Tokyo can do that, many Japanese people will be happy to spend some Yens.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Why does the 2020 Tokyo Olympics not implicitly include the Para Olympics? Why such a mouthful? For a language that has an affinity for brevity, this is clearly an exception.

2020 Tokyo Olympics Para Olympics



5 ( +5 / -0 )

Come now, everything the state does is over cost by at least 252%. Unlike private enterprises, where work must be done within the contracted time and cost, when the state pays for a project the contracted cost and deadline are irrelevant. The longer a project takes, and the higher the cost, the more there is to loot.

If the Olympics can provide an economic boom to any city, then the businesses of that city should do the bidding, and not the city itself. They would be happy to do so, but they would only bid if they knew the return would be larger than their investment. But governments have much deeper pockets than businesses, and are more than happy to spend billions in return for millions, the excess being used to fatten the bank accounts of friends and cronies, and the taxpayers left holding the bag.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I guess that makes everyone who already said this a better economist than this guy -- which is almost everyone in the country, let alone the world.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

You don't have to be an economist to figure this out. They've turned the whole country up-side-down to get these games with so many infrastructural and cultural reforms there is going to be a major slump as soon as the games are finished that will take decades to get over.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Zimbalist has been studying the issue and saying these things for a while now - read his 2015 book, "Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup." It makes his argument very clear.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The Olympics are now just a way for one country to try and show up another country, and I am not talking about the games themselves! Every four years it seems the games get bigger and more costly. The governments always seem to say how much money it will add to the economy, and people are so caught up in national pride that they don't stop and try and do the math. Then after it is all over, they have all these arenas and buildings that go unused most of the time.

It is just like when one country builds the tallest building, many other countries seem to try and build a taller one, everything is a competition these days, a costly one at that!

Like others have said on other post, they should spread the games out over different areas within the country, I mean come on; Tokyo is crowded enough as it is, do we really want to add to the already horrendous traffic and train congestion?

Some people will be making a bundle off the games, and they are all already rich enough as it is!

They should just build an island somewhere and keep it maintained and use it every four years, it would be a lot cheaper!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

According to Zimbalist, the Olympics turns away regular tourists, who are put off by the extravagant prices of hotels and restaurants when the games are on.

Yes, during the games year, normal tourists put off their visits which helps to account the swell of visitors to London and the UK at large in 2013 and 2014.

Tokyo is becoming more tourist friendly and the coming Olympics is serving to accelerate the pace of change. There is more foreign language signage. More free wifi. More smoke-free areas. There is a lot yet to be done, but the there's a reason for the gits in government and bureaucracies to actively try to make change happen, rather than to sit on their hands and passively prevent change.

Even my change-resistant employer is trying to get with the program and work out this "telework" business that has been a normal option for years elsewhere, because it's being pushed by the Olympics.

There are non-tangible benefits. And some I'm really looking forward to. ( Smoke-free restaurants, please!!)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Spot on

3 ( +3 / -0 )

its a 2 week sporting event, losing advertising by the minute because US companies wont advertise with such a time difference and spending far over the budget.

who thought it WOULD be profitable?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Everybody forgets about the Paralympic another 2weeks AFTER the Olympics.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Too much focus on money and profit.

The Olympics is about sporting and athletic endeavour, inclusivity and spectacle. By all means, query the legacy, support or deride the inevitable protests but never forget the brightness of the Games when it's in town. Liking a shooting star, it amazes and then fades.

Tokyo will do us proud.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

why not just stick to the budget and plans in your original bid to get the Olympics? Ohhh thats right is was all a load o garbage. I forgot

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Since the beginning I am against Olympic Games, billions spent for Abe, bureaucrats and all construction corporation etc...and nothing for Fukushima people, kinder garden, child poverty, health problems, social helps and so on.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

When studying economics, you are better off at ending when you finish the 101 course. Fundamental economics are the only real form of economics. As you move upward in the study of economics, it changes from a study of efficiency, value, loss, and gain, and becomes more and more voodoo. This allows professional economists to summon up results which match the demands of their sponsors. These results more often than not have no basis in economic reality. But the business of politics demands that you tell people what they want to hear, and the people seldom want to hear reality.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

pacint: Not everybody, and you are proof of that. But sadly, yes, MOST do, and for that reason it is, again, sadly, not a money maker in the least and not noteworthy in most people's books. I doubt that will change, either.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

You don't have to be an Economist to know that.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan can will benefit - long term - from the Olympics, based on the champions it produces.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Under honorable circumstances of course.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

And who has benefited long term except the companies who get awarded the construction contracts or the officials who happily accept bribes and other pay-offs for "consulting." Every country is left with buildings and facilities they rarely use to capacity or can re-appropriate for other uses. Monumental waste of money. The Olympics should adopt a UN-style method of financing it, since it's a global sporting contest.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan can will benefit - long term - from the Olympics, based on the champions it produces.

Jtsnose - how? Genuine question.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"Tokyo is not going to be discovered after 2020. Los Angeles won't be discovered, Paris won't be discovered, London wasn't discovered. That whole impact the IOC loves to talk about, that 'it's going to put your city on the map,' is a bunch of bologna."


Re Andrew Zimbalist's point that "Barcelona was not a known tourist destination in Europe in 1992", I guess he means 'outside of Europe' particularly in his home country (the us). Barcelona and, more generally, Catalunya/Costa Brava were already top travel destinations in Europe in the late 1980s (and probably before).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

wow! Newsflash!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Japan is not a popular tourist haven for Western tourists, and never has been. Japan may attempt to make itself sound exotic and enticing, but it has very little of interest to most. Hiroshima and Nagasaki may have some appeal because of the well deserved thrashing dished out to Japan, and Kyoto also marginally because of its history, but that's about it. Why would anyone other than other Asians want to come to the overcrowded, marginalized, bloated, regressive environment that is Japan? Exactly, and that is the point.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

LandofExcuses: "Japan is not a popular tourist haven for Western tourists, and never has been"

Not at all true. Japan has and always will be a place of interest to most travellers, and despite being largely Westernized after WWII, still seen as relatively exotic. The problem has always been cost of travel, cost of stay, and distance from the rest of Asia. Most backpackers avoid Japan becuase it blows their whole budget. These days it's easier, and cheaper, and so there are more Western tourists than ever.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Everybody forgets about the Paralympic another 2weeks AFTER the Olympics.

Good point, pacint! all new buildings, buses, hotel rooms, athlete accommodations being built with this series of sporting events in mind are being designed with accessibility in mind. I wonder if this economist factored that benefit in.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yes, during the games year, normal tourists put off their visits which helps to account the swell of visitors to London and the UK at large in 2013 and 2014.

True this. Lots of new hotels were opened in anticipation of the Games drawing bigger visitor numbers but rooms weren't booked, only the budget places did well. Lots of nasty, unscrupulous landlords evicted tenants so they could rent to visitors at a premium rate, but the visitors didn't turn up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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